Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mother's Day Paddling Excursion


For me, Mother's Day is about doing something I love with the people that I love most. And not cooking is pretty important too!


We recently purchased a new-to-us kayak (a 3-seater Perception Tribe 13.5 T) that we have been anxious to take for a spin. It's kind of hard to believe that the last time we paddled, I was 39 weeks pregnant.


We have taken Jack out in our canoe on several occasions. The first time he was 11 months old. We tried again when he was 2.5 taking him to Wolftever Creek and also to the Bat Cave on Nickajack Lake. With each subsequent trip, Jack has shown more confidence and skill than the last time.


At age 4.5, this paddling excursion was his best trip by far. It helped tremendously that he had his own paddle – something he had been asking for since our last trip. Next up he might find himself with his own vessel.


Anyways, with Isaac being one already, I felt like it was time to take him out on the water. As parents, our basic philosophy is to introduce our kids to the things we love, as early and as quickly as possible because we have every intention of taking them with us on longer and more adventurous excursions as they get bigger.


The thing with kids is that you have to be ready to adjust your plans on the fly. You have to commit to doing the activity, even if it means that you might spend four hours preparing and 15 minutes actually doing it. 


You also have to know (and be ok with) calling it quits. You do all of this knowing that on the next trip you will go further and longer than the time before, and that endurance will come and a love of the outdoors and adventure will only happen with time.


With that knowledge we loaded our kayak and boys and headed down our mountain and across town to the base of Lookout Mountain where we would paddle on the flat water of Lookout Creek.


Lookout Creek really is the perfect place to take kids. We launched under the Cummings Hwy bridge (for free, you can go on into the Reflection Riding Center and launch there but there is a fee). We liked that we could back our Subaru right down to the water and unload our boat without having to carry it a long way.


We started out paddling up river and initially Isaac was totally on board with being on the water. Our kayak doesn't have scupper plugs, so there was a little bit of water in my foot board and he enjoyed splashing in it.


But – there is always a but with little kids – about 10 minutes into our paddle, he was over it. The heat, the life jacket, being stuck in my lap, all of it. Done.


So we turned around and headed back to the car while he cried/screamed. Once on land, and out of his life jacket, we calmed him down with some food and water and he was a happy guy again.


Daniel took Jack out for a little longer (which meant Jack got to sit in a real seat), and then they came back and Daniel and I traded spots and I paddled a bit with Jack.


We need to work on Jack's paddling skills. Right now he likes to drag his paddle (which slows us down and makes more work!). And when he was riding in the middle, when all four of us were in the boat, he had terrible cadence and would end up banging paddles with Daniel.


Overall though we are really happy to know that we can all fit in the new kayak. Jack will eventually learn how to paddle correctly and Isaac will eventually come to not hate wearing a life jacket. I think age 4.5, for Jack anyways, is the perfect age to really start to love paddling.


It was a great Mother's Day. Each year is better than the last! 


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